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Dexter Fowler Signs with Cubs Despite Reported Agreement with Orioles

Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler catches out Cincinnati Reds' Adam Duvall in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 4-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press
Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2016

The Chicago Cubs announced they have signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2017.

The news comes after Fowler had reportedly signed with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. ESPN.com's Buster Olney initially reported Fowler signed a three-year deal, and Roch Kubatko of MASN confirmed the move. 

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported at the time that the contract was worth $33 million over the three years.

Fowler hit .250 with a career-best 17 home runs as a leadoff hitter with some pop in his bat for the Cubs. He also stole 20 bases and worked a career-high 84 walks, which was seventh-best in the National League. His ability to draw those walks despite a mediocre batting average helped him score a career-high 102 runs as he set the table for sluggers such as Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber.

Fowler’s durability was particularly important in Chicago last season. He played 156 games on a team that was fluid in the outfield around him, as Jorge Soler dealt with injuries and Schwarber, Bryant and Chris Coghlan played a variety of positions.

Now that Fowler has a new contract, he can turn his attention toward improving his defense before Opening Day. According to FanGraphs, he posted a minus-12 mark in defensive runs saved last season even though he did use his speed to cover ground and make a handful of flashy plays.

Fowler still theoretically has a handful of productive seasons ahead of him, as he's only set to turn 30 in March, making him an important addition to a Cubs squad that has World Series aspirations.

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